Within the last decade, more women have entered the work force. As their numbers surge, their vulnerability to harassment has also increased. Often reported in the media are criminal acts of rape, assault and molestation, while the ‘less severe’ forms of harassment like verbal abuse, repeated lewd emails or smses, physical touching, or unwelcome comments on behavior or dress are given free reign because they do not qualify as criminal acts. Below are some statistics about harassment in the workplace.

Sexual Harassment is more common than you might think: 54% (272) questioned had experienced some form of workplace sexual harassment. 79% of the victims are women; 21% were men. 12% had received threats of termination if they did no comply with the requests of the sexual harassers.

Sexual Harassment occurs at all levels of an organization. Both women and men are more likely to have been harassed by the opposite sex, although some have also experienced harassment from the same sex. In AWARE’s survey, 79% of the respondents who reported having experienced workplace sexual harassment were female; 21% were male. Sexual harassment occurs across the board. Most of the harassment is experienced at executive levels, followed by administrative staff. While reports of victimization are fewer, there are incidents of sexual harassment at management and senior management positions.

Not everyone knows where to go if they are harassed.  66.6% (333) were not aware of any policies. Only 50.4% indicated that they were aware of a department or resource person they could approach on harassment.

Industries with high levels of sexual harassment incidents(in no particular order). Business, trade, banking and finance, Sales and marketing, Hospitality, Civil Service, Education, lecturing and teaching.

Photo by Jennifer Kumar